Secondary Source Annotated Bibliography


Secondary Source Annotated Bibliography


This bibliography gives credit to all secondary sources used in my research. It also includes annotations describing the significance of the material to my inquiry question.


Sam Harman


Hirsch, Arnold. Choosing Segregation: Federal Housing Policy Between Shelley and Brown.. University Park: The Pennsylvania State Univeristy Press, 2000.
While there is much scholarly research regarding the emergence of modern urban conditions, even much directly accusing the FHA of instituting policy to engineer segregation, there is far fewer research regarding the motivations of the FHA. While this is not the full scope of Hirsch’s book, the motivations of the FHA for instituting such discriminatory policies in their underwriting manuals is a section of Hirsch’s research relevant to this collection. Hirsch plainly states that racism ran deep even at the highest level of government- the FHA included. While there was deep-seated racism across the United States in the 1950s, it is generally thought that most discrimination occurred in the Jim Crow south. Hirsch shows that racial divisions permeated even the highest levels of government and seeped north during the Great Migration.

Hirsch, Arnold. 2005. “Restrictive Covenants”. Encyclopedia of Chicago. Accessed November 30.
Hirsch takes a close look at racially restrictive covenants, and how they were implemented in Chicago. The endorsement of these covenants by municipal authorities is evident by the Chicago Real Estate Board’s attempt to cover the entire city of Chicago in racially restrictive covenants-even drawing up a standard legal conctract to enforce the restrictions. This was no less than local government sanctioned discrimination, and is evidence of the “trickle-down” effect of the FHA on municipal authorities that I discuss in my essay.

Jackson, Kenneth T.. Crabgrass Frontier. New York: Oxford University Press, 1985
In his book, Kenneth Jackson explores the development of urban areas in America. Of particular interest to this collection is Jackson’s assessment of the FHA’s risk assessment policies. He notes that the FHA explicitly condoned the use of racially restrictive covenants, directing agents to look for “inharmonious racial groups” and the “threat of penetration” by such groups as markers that a neighborhood’s property values would decline. The indication of such a decline was sufficient for the FHA to bar insurance for home loans and home improvement loans, directly contributing to the emergence of racial ghettos in Chicago.
Kimble, John. "Insuring Inequality-The Role of the Federal Housing Administration in the Urban Ghettoization of African Americans." Law & Social Inquiry 32, no. 2 (2007)
Kimble’s essay is an excellent source for anyone interested in exploring the role of the FHA in producing racial ghettos. Like Jackson, Kimble places much importance on the role of the FHA’s risk assessment programs in creating an environment hostile to African American homebuyers. However, Kimble’s research further postulates that it was precisely the FHA’s racist policies that encouraged and empowered lesser actors in the real estate market to discriminate against African Americans. The practices of redlining, contract selling, and racially restrictive covenants are directly attributable to the practices of the FHA in the decades after the Great Migration.

Lands, LeeAnn. 2009. The culture of property: race, class, and housing landscapes in Atlanta, 1880-1950. Athens: University of Georgia Press
Lands conducted a study of Atlanta similar to the one done by Plotkin in Chicago. The verdicts in both cases are surprisingly similar, and reveal much about what was being done to African Americans in America’s cities, far beyond the scope of Chicago. Atlanta had most if not all of the discriminatory practices of Chicago, but was topped off with humiliating and de-humanizing Jim Crow laws. Her study reinforces what it meant to be a black man, woman, or child, in an American metropolis in the two decades after the Great Migration; what the experience of life was for a human in an in-between state, forced into a marginalized status in home, at work, and in the social strata.

McGovney, D.O. “Racial Residential Segregation by State Court Enforcement of Restrictive Agreements, Covenants, or Conditions in Deeds is Unconstitutional”. California Law Review 33, (1945)
McGovney’s essay appeared in The California Law Review in 1945, arguing that government enforcement of racially restrictive covenants was unconstitutional. McGovney’s writing is useful as both a primary and secondary resource. Firstly, it gives a view period-specific account of housing trends in America; although McGovney probably did not live in Chicago, his writing reveals the attitudes of at least some Americans to what was going on in American cities. Secondly, his writing is useful as a repository of facts regarding racially restrictive covenants: how they functioned, their ususal terms, and what they meant for those bound under them are all revealed at least partially by McGovney’s condemnation of restrictive covenants.

Plotkin, Wendy. “Hemmed In: the Struggle Against Racial Restrictive Covenants and Deed Restrictions in Post-WWII Chicago”. Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society 91, no.1 (1998)
Plotkin’s essay relates well to McGovney’s, but as the title suggests, her work relates more to the experiences of African Americans in the middle of Chicago’s housing crisis than an intellectual examination of it from afar. Plotkin also examines the advent of racial deed restrictions in Chicago. Although they existed since the beginning of the 20th century, they came into extensive use after the Supreme Court ruled in 1917 that municipally mandated racial segregation was unconstitutional. She notes that a number of state supreme courts refused to rule on the constitutionality of of racilly restrictive deeds in 1926, effectively clearing the way for them to become used as prolifically as they were in Chicago for the better part of the 20th century.

Sagawa, Shirley, and Eli Segal. 1999. Common interest, common good: creating value through business and social sector partnerships. Boston, Mass: Harvard Business School Press
This book has less to do with the FHA and government than with the cooperation of businesses and communities to create better neighborhoods, but it reveals much about the actions of the FHA through discussion on how to rebuild communities. The book mentions flippantly how redlining and other discriminatory practices have shattered neighborhoods, and calls for community and private sector resources to rectify the problem. That no mention of the government’s role in the rehabilitation of neighborhoods is made subtly reveals what most Chicagoans in the 1940s and 50s already knew: the government was responsible for the creation of these conditions, and had no interest in rectifying them. Blacks in Chicago knew that they had only themselves, their communities, and the resources of the sympathetic private sector to achieve equality in living and housing.
Satter, Beryl. 2009. Family properties: race, real estate, and the exploitation of Black urban America. New York, N.Y.: Metropolitan Books.
In this book, Beryl Satter, daughter of Albert and Sallie Bolton, describes her parents' struggle to purchase a home in Chicago. Since FHA policies made it practically impossible for African Americans to secure mortgage insurance , many families purchased homes on contract. The Boltons decided to purchase a home from a contract seller named Jay Goran in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood. The Boltons paid $13,900 for a modest house, which was probably worth about a third of that. Much of the book deals with contract sellers dealing with African American families in Chicago. Contract sellers would often charge enormously inflated prices for their homes, as Goran did the Boltons, and have contractual stipulations allowing for the repossession of the house after a single missed payment. The effect of this was that black families often purchased homes in highly concentrated black areas. Once they were there, the high payments required by the terms of the contract sale left them little money for home improvement (or anything else, for that matter). Thus much property in densely black areas fell into states of disrepair, lowering property values and signifying the emergence of conditions that would become modern ghettos.

“Social Scientists Map Chicago”. University of Chicago. Accessed October 11, 2010.
This collection of maps, offered online by the University of Chicago, offers much insight into how racially stratified Chicago was in the 1940s and 50s. Maps dating back to the mid 19th century show just how massive the Great Migration was, increasing Chicago’s black population enormously. The mid 20th century maps show just how effective the FHA was in creating racial concentration in Chicago. A handful of neighborhoods on Chicago’s east side can be seen to contain most of Chicago’s black population in what is probably less than a twentieth of Chicago’s residential areas. These maps make clear how high black population concentration contributed to the emergence of overcrowded and deteriorating neighborhoods that became ghettos.





Sam Harman, “Secondary Source Annotated Bibliography,” Inbetween Peoples, accessed September 24, 2020,